Sixth-grader’s "PhoneRaiser" helps sister school in Uganda

Although most old phones become useless, Convent of the Sacred Heart sixth grader Giselle Grey gave them new meaning with her “PhoneRaiser for Uganda.” Giselle organized and directed a school-wide drive that collected old cell phones and ink cartridges to raise money for Sacred Heart’s sister school in Uganda, the Kyamusansala Primary School.

Upon drafting a community action plan at a People-to-People leadership program at Harvard University this past summer, Giselle felt compelled to execute her proposal at Sacred Heart.

“I immediately thought about our Sacred Heart family in Uganda after having participated in Jump Rope for Uganda and the Wax Museum in Lower School,” Giselle said.

Giselle was eager to help the sister school and performed numerous steps to seamlessly implement her plan in the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. An instrumental figure in her preparation was Sister Irene Cullen, Director of the Uganda and Kenya Mission Support Office for the Society of the Sacred Heart. Sister Cullen created the office in 2000 to raise awareness of women’s education in Uganda and to fund the building of the Kyamusansala school. Over the past 14 years, Sister Cullen has observed the office’s progress firsthand.

“For one, the newest Elementary village residential school now has a student body of 540 children. And thanks to USA SH (Sacred Heart) students it has a strong academic program, sufficient buildings and a strong financial aid program,” Sister Cullen said.

Giselle collected over 100 phones and multiple inkjet cartridges during the drive, and sent them to the PhoneRaiser organization. PhoneRaiser will in turn evaluate the phones’ value and send Giselle an equivalent amount of money. Afterwards, Sister Cullen will use the money to help those struggling in Uganda to improve their lives through education.

Sister Cullen commended Giselle for her inventive and empathetic project to help Sacred Heart network schools.

“I was so impressed by the creative fundraising project that Giselle developed.  Her understanding of the educational needs of young girls in Uganda and her compassionate desire to do her part to create a better world truly inspired me,” Sister Cullen said.

Ultimately, through her experiences with the PhoneRaiser, Giselle has become more aware of her membership in a global community.

“I am so privileged to be able to learn, to have a safe place to live and to have food to eat,” Giselle said. “I feel like setting up charitable events like a PhoneRaiser helps to support girls go to school.”

Giselle’s PhoneRaiser is yet another way Sacred Heart students aid Ugandan schools. Annual school events like the Jump Rope for Uganda and the Run for Uganda, along with the Upper School Africa Task Force, raise money to support different facets of female education in Uganda.

“I think it’s so important to help our sister school in Uganda,” sophomore Lizzie Considine, co-head of Africa Task Force said. “The money we raise either goes to our two scholarships or the emergency fund. It’s so inspiring to think that any donations that we send to them, really changes their life.”

Even though Giselle’s PhoneRaiser, among other Sacred Heart events, has improved Ugandan schools, Sister Cullen believes the key to future success is the continued generosity of Sacred Heart students.

“Your school community is a core part of improving the lives of hundreds and of young women in Uganda and thus bringing them hope for the future,” Sister Cullen said.